Good morning folks, it’s time for your weekly bite-sized chunks of entertainment news. This week has some sombre stuff, unfortunately, but it also has some fun with remakes and sequels, and assorted superhero-ish action films. I’ve front-loaded the sad stuff so that it doesn’t bring people down for too long — and if you really want to just skip over it, hit the first bold line. I don’t judge; we’re mostly here to have fun, after all.
However you want to take it, read on for the news.
First off, there’s some sad news to deal with. If you have somehow not seen it elsewhere (including my own post on the subject), Roger Ebert has passed away at the age of 70 due to cancer. Judging by the way Twitter utterly exploded at the news, he’ll be missed by movie critics, stars, and fans alike. The documentary Life Itself, based on his memoir, which was in production at the time of his death, will be completed, says director Steve James.
Next, Richard Griffiths, best known as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films, has passed away at the age of 65, following complications after heart surgery.
And because these things seem to come in threes, Jane Henson has also passed on, at the age of 78. The wife of Jim Henson, she helped create the Muppets in their early stages as Sam and Friends, and founded the Jim Henson Legacy to preserve his work.
Now how about some happier news, all right?
Right off of the @DisneyPictures Twitter feed, the Finding Nemo sequel now has a name and a release date: Finding Dory, coming out November 25, 2015. Ellen DeGeneres is returning as Dory, and if I recall correctly, Albert Brooks was already confirmed to be returning as Marlin.
The Robert Redford rumors are confirmed! Redford himself states he will be in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Redford says he wanted to do something different, and this felt like a good thing to do. Redford bossing around Nick Fury and Captain America? This could be very, very good.
Disney is remaking The Black Hole, their 1979 scifi film which was their most expensive film at the time (and which did not garner a reception that warranted that expense). The remake has landed a writer, Jon Spaihts (Prometheus); a producer, Justin Springer (TRON: Legacy) and a director Joseph Kosinski (also TRON: Legacy and the upcoming Oblivion).
Justin Lin, who directed The Fast and the Furious #3-6, will not be back for #7. His stated reason is that the timetable is simply too short.
Guillermo del Toro gave some details about his Justice League Dark adaptation, which has a working title of Dark Universe. John Constantine (who was previously the focus of a film starring Keanu Reeves) will be recruiting the team, which will include fellow B-movie superhero Swamp Thing, as well as Etrigan the Demon (and presumably Jason Blood as well), the Spectre, Deadman, and Zatanna. Del Toro also remarked that Constantine will have comic-book-accurate blond hair this time, because of course this was the primary issue with the previous film. A story bible has been written for the film, and it’s awaiting a writer for the screenplay; however, del Toro is filming his horror movie Crimson Peak first. Assuming del Toro does get around to this and it delivers on its potential, this could be a lot of fun — the magical side of superheroes hasn’t gotten a great outing in cinemas yet, and this features a lot of fan-favorite characters, albeit ones that are essentially unknown to the general public. Here’s hoping it gets completed, lives up to its potential, and sells tickets.
Did you love G.I. Joe: Retaliation? Well, perhaps not judging by the reviews I’ve been reading. But somebody did, as it’s been outpacing its predecessor, especially overseas. As a result, Paramount is reportedly moving forward on a third film in the franchise. Odds of it also being in 3D are estimated to be around 100%.
Will Arnett has joined the cast of Ninja Turtles, in an as-yet “secret” role. Arnett is so far the biggest name attached to the project aside from Megan Fox. Now, I try not to do any rumor-mongering of my own as a rule, but looking up his credits (his name sounded vaguely familiar), I noticed he’s done a lot of voice acting in films, including what is arguably his biggest role, Missing Link in Monsters vs. Aliens. Considering most of the announced cast so far has been for motion-capture roles, it seems plausible he’s doing the same. Given that Link was an aging mentor, we may just be looking at the casting for Splinter here. I kind of hope so, as that might be the one thing that’s gone right in this whole debacle-to-be so far.
Zoe Saldana is in talks for the role of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy. While it apparently isn’t official yet, if Saldana is cast, she’ll be playing a green-skinned alien warrior woman, the last survivor of a race that was the victim of genocide. So, you know, not much of a stretch for Saldana, who is best known for her role in Avatar as a blue-skinned alien warrior woman trying to stave off genocide. That’s Hollywood for you; always typecasting people based on skin color, even if it’s a skin color not found in nature.
“Why do movies about Satan only have Catholics? We never get to see Methodists or Episcopalians put down demons.”
— Roger Ebert, in his review of Constantine, 2005